By Alex Lippa
---- — Windham Town Administrator David Sullivan may be the most optimistic man in Southern New Hampshire.
“It’s not going to snow,” Sullivan joked yesterday when asked about the likelihood of the town’s deliberative sessions taking place as planned tomorrow and Saturday.
Deliberative sessions, school events, community gatherings and travel could all be put on hold if a major snowstorm whacks the area, as expected, tomorrow into Saturday.
It’s unclear if this storm will rival the “Blizzard of ‘78,” which dumped 2 feet of snow on the state, but it could set records.
“One of our models is suggesting more than 2 feet of snow for Southern New Hampshire,” said meteorologist Steve Capriola of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. “But it’s just too tough to say how much we will get this far in advance.”
A blizzard watch has been issued for eastern Massachusetts.
NWS meteorologist Chris Legro said this storm will be the most significant one since 22 inches fell in October 2011.
“It’s going to be a high-impact storm,” Legro said. “We have growing confidence that we will see at least a foot, with the potential for more.”
Legro said light flurries will begin tonight into tomorrow morning. The heaviest snow is expected between mid-afternoon tomorrow to Saturday morning. Wind gusts could be as strong as 50 mph.
Rick Russell, Salem’s director of public works, and his crew are starting to prepare for the worst.
“We are hearing it could be up to a foot of snow,” he said yesterday. “We are going to be as prepared as we can be.”
The storm could put several deliberative sessions in jeopardy.
Windham and Londonderry have their school district deliberative sessions scheduled for tomorrow night, as does the town of Hampstead. Windham’s town deliberative session is set for Saturday morning.
As of yesterday, no sessions had been postponed.
Betty Dunn is serving as moderator for both of Windham’s deliberative sessions and will make the final call.
“I’ve been making calls to all the parties involved to see what the best plan would be if we have to postpone the meeting,” Dunn said. “I hope to put out a Plan B by noon (today).”
A notice posted on the Londonderry School District’s website said a decision on the session will be made by noon tomorrow. Hampstead administrative assistant Sally Theriault did not have a timeline on when that town expects to make a decision.
Derry public works director Mike Fowler said his crew was already getting excited about working the storm tomorrow.
“Drivers start to get psyched up for event because they know they’ll be working it,” Fowler said. “They are preparing their trucks and making sure everything is ready to roll.”
Hal Price, assistant manager at Benson Lumber & Hardware in Londonderry, said not many people have come into the store yet to prepare for the storm.
But that may change today.
“We don’t usually see people come in until the day before a storm,” he said.
Price said the store plans to put winter supplies such as rock salt and ice melt on special display to prepare for the storm. The store also ordered more shovels when they heard the storm was coming.
Tania Atkinson of Windham was at Home Depot in Londonderry yesterday and bought two extra shovels.
“We only have one shovel in the house now,” she said, “so we wanted to make sure we were prepared just in case.”
A winter storm warning was issued by the National Weather Service for Rockingham County yesterday morning and is in effect from 5 a.m. tomorrow to 7 a.m. Saturday.